Next we headed to shell beach. Here the Fragum Cockle shells take over the beach and there is no sand here- only shells. The water here was super saline (twice as salty as normal sea water from evaporation) which these shells can cope with. Though it is hard to get out to the water at low tide, Steve braved the gale force winds and walked out for an easy float while I enjoyed a bed of shells. M
It took a couple hours of walking the sand dunes near Monkey Mia for Steve to find this endangered Western grasswren which is another success story in this area. We had both seen it once before but needed a photo for a positive ID. The photo is not so good but this sign gives you an idea of what it should look like. A sweet little thing and it is bird 322 for Steve. M
When Nicholas Baudin and Francois Peron visited Shark Bay in 1801 there were 23 species of mammals in this area. Less than half remained in 1990. This was due to habitat destruction and competition for food by live stock and rabbits, and predation from introduced foxes and cats. Project Eden was launched to reverse this ecological destruction. Two species that have made a comeback after reintroduction are the Bilby and the Malleefowl. A new program has now replaced Project Eden- Return to 1616!. M
We then headed out to the Francois Peron National Park to the heritage Precinct where you can have a look at what is left of the Peron Station homestead. On the way we saw this very unusual sign on the road. It is not many places that you have to look out for Bilby’s as there are so few left. But here their numbers are growing, which is just wonderful to see! It is amazing what can happen when you just get rid of animals that don’t belong here in this country!
The Old Peron Station first leased in the 1880’s and bought by National Parks like many properties in drought areas that are no longer profitable. They used the old homestead as an office, so unfortunately you could not see inside but the walk around to the old shearing shed and artesian bore swimming pool was nice.
A short beaked echidna that waddled along.